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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 2 (2012 Deadline)

Mycota associated to native Hevea spp. in the Brazilian Amazon region

PI: Aristóteles Góes-Neto (Centro de Excelência em Bioinformática, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz--Fiocruz)
U.S. Partner: Priscila Chaverri (University of Maryland, College Park)
Project Dates: August 2013 to May 2016
2-503 Plants
This project expects to characterize the mycota associated to the socially important and economically valuable rubber trees in the Brazilian Amazon region. The project will focus on characterizing endophytic and saprophytic fungi that naturally occur in Brazil and compare to fungal diversity in another region of Amazon basin, the Peruvian Amazon region. The idea is to corroborate the hypothesis that suggest that fungal endophytes have coevolved with their host plants to protect them from natural enemies.
The endophytic fungi associated to native rubber trees occurring in the Brazilian Amazon region can be utilized in biological control of Microcyclus ulei, the agent of South American leaf blight which is the scourge rubber trees. This project can add more aggregated value to this important tree of Amazonian forests, reinforcing the necessity of avoiding the potential loss of useful biodiversity due to deforestation and expansion of agricultural and livestock breeding frontier in the Brazilian Amazon region.
Summary of Recent Activities
The main activities performed during the third quarter of 2015 included sequencing and molecular identification of the remaining fungal strains of the leaves and sapwood of rubber tree individuals from Anavilhanas National Park, and the same two activities (sequencing and molecular identification) for approximately 25 percent of the fungal strains of the Caxiuanã National Forest. Seven distinct fungal genera that have not previously identified were found, including those of Basidiomycota, which are infrequently retrieved by a culturable method. Strains identified included the Ascomycota genera Trichoderma/Hypocrea (found exclusively in sapwood tissue), Lasiodiplodia, Muscodor, Sarcopodium, and Pestalotiopsis, and the Basidiomycota genera Peniophora and Phanerochaete. Dr. Góes-Neto reports that the main current difficulty on the project is a backup of samples awaiting processing on his department’s DNA sequencer, so the generation of the sequences has taken longer than expected. In the coming months, he and his team will perform the sequencing and molecular identification of the remaining strains isolated from rubber tree individuals of Caxiuanã, as well as gDNA extraction, PCR, sequencing, and molecular extraction of the fungal strains of Tapajós National Forest. 
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